Save Akamas, Cyprus

The historical struggle to Save Akamas Natura 2000 area in Cyprus from touristic projects and quarries continues with a range of judicial activism and protests and with a common message raised by various groups: "Hands off Akamas!"


This is an ongoing conflict for more than 30 years in the region of Akamas, the southwestern part of Cyprus. This is a highly important region for biodiversity and turtle nesting and has been declared a Natura 2000 area.  

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Basic Data
NameSave Akamas, Cyprus
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Military installations
Urban development conflicts
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Specific CommoditiesLand
Sand, gravel
Tourism services
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe demand for re-zoning Akamas and opening it up for construction and tourism facilities comes from developers, hotel associations, investment agencies, local mayors and village leaders but also from individuals who have inherited large parcels of land [11].

The Minister of the Interior has announced that waterfront development is permissible subject to an application to his department and the construction boom started with Alekos Michaelides, a foreign minister of the Republic of Cyprus, who used his political status to relax laws and build his 5-star Anassa luxury hotel at the foothills of Baths of Aphrodite.

The other major threat to Akamas threat has been the Phodiates Group. It has applied for a huge hotel complex near Fontana Amorosa (Blue Lagoon) in the North West cape of Akamas. The area covers 1.3 million m2 with 3km stretch of pristine coastline. The master plan calls for an integrated 18-hole golf course, luxury hotels, a marina, and other luxurious facilities. The project has been put on hold on EU environmental issues. [11]

Facing the old church of Ayios Minas before the Smygies picnic facilities, a massive fence has been put up to stop access to ramblers in preparation most probably for another massive project in waiting.

The former president of the Republic, George Vassiliou Development Group, plans to develop above Peyia at Ayia Vouni multiple four-floor buildings with 145 apartments and 125 villas in the Akamas peninsula under the pretext of being an environmentally friendly “sustainable development project”. There are additional plans for the construction of a huge hotel complex and marinas at Aspokremmos, overlooking green turtle nesting sites. [11]
Project Area (in hectares)23,000
Start Date01/01/1990
Company Names or State EnterprisesPhodiates Group
George Vassiliou Development Group
Relevant government actorsThe Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment;

The Ministry of Interior
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCyprus Natural Coastline Initiative,

Limassol Initiative for Akamas,

Save Akamas/ Save Cyprus Initiative,

Federation of Environmental Organizations of Cyprus,

Ecological Movement Cyprus,

Birdlife Cyprus,

Friends of Akamas,

Friends of Earth Cyprus,

Utopia Collectiva,

Collective Seed Cyprus
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Participation in the carnival parades to raise awareness, organising concerts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (undecided)
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Development of AlternativesThe movement demands the protection of the Akamas region and avoiding any construction. In 2015, a range of EJOs and the Save Akamas Initiative demanded that the entire Akamas Natural 2000 Area becomes a National Park with a petition in Avaaz signed by thousands of people and addressing the President of the Republic of Cyprus, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament [12].
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.It is a historical conflict, in which the protests and mobilisation have been very strong being able to bring different EJOs and social groups together.

However, the construction plans continue by powerful economic and political actors.
Sources and Materials

Protests against British troops' military activities in Akamas, CNA Cyprus News, 17.11.1997 [5]
[click to view]

The Rape of Akamas, By Andreas C. Chrysafis, 26.07.2016, Greek Reporter webpage [4]
[click to view]

Reclaim the Sea blog giving information on Akamas as well as other coastal grabbing issues in Cyprus [1]
[click to view]

Carnaval participation of Save Akamas Initiative, 09.03.2016, local newspaper City [7]
[click to view]

Carnaval participation and performative protest of the Save Akamas Initiative in Nicosia, City local newspaper, 11.02.2018 [6]
[click to view]

The Rape of Akamas (Andreas C. Chrysafis, 26.07.2016) [11]
[click to view]

Avaaz Campaign to declare Akamas Natura 2000 Area as a National Park (2015) [12]
[click to view]

Media Links

Video showing the possible negative future of Akamas in case the construction is allowed and call for the petition to Save Akamas, Friends of the Akamas, 11.12.2015 [9]
[click to view]

'We Are Akamas', video by the Save Akamas Initiative [10]
[click to view]

Facebook page of the Save Akamas Initiative [2]
[click to view]

Facebook event of Save Akamas related to the intervention in the carnival parade, 11 February 2018 [3]
[click to view]

‘Singing for Akamas’ event, organised by the ‘Cyprus Natural Coastline’ initiative, ‘Limassol Initiative for Akamas’ and ‘Save Akamas/ Save Cyprus’ on Sunday 27 March 2016 with a link to the song of Cypriot group Monsieur Domani [8]
[click to view]

Intervention during the carnival in Aglantzia, Nicosia, against the destruction of Akamas protected area by developers (11 February 2018) [13]
[click to view]

Other Documents

Protests in front of the Parliament, 28 February 2018
[click to view]

Protest to Save Akamas in front of the Parliament, 28 February 2018
[click to view]

Carnival participation of the initiative to save Akamas, 11 February 2018
[click to view]

Intervention in the carnival to save Akamas, 11 February 2018
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorSave Akamas/Save Cyprus Initiative, Dr. Maria Hadjimichael & Irmak Ertör, ICTA, UAB
Last update12/03/2018